Mourinho accused of tax fraud during Real Madrid stint

Manchester United boss José Mourinho has been accused of tax fraud by Spanish prosecutors investigating his time as Real Madrid’s head coach.

The Portuguese manager is accused of defrauding Spain of €3.3m (£2.9m; $3.6m) in taxes between 2011 and 2012. He has yet to comment on the claim.

A prosecutor says he did not declare income from the use of his image rights in order to get an “illicit benefit”.

Other big names in football have been accused of tax fraud in Spain recently.

Those include Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo, who played under Mr Mourinho and shares the same agent. The player is accused of defrauding tax authorities of €14.7m, by also hiding his income from image rights.

He denies the accusations and is threatening to leave Spain. The Portugal international is set to give evidence in his case on 31 July.

Mr Mourinho, 54, is accused of two counts of tax fraud – €1.6m in 2011 and €1.7m in 2012. The Madrid prosecutor says the case was presented to a local court.

Why Mourinho?

José Mourinho joins a growing list of football stars being investigated and prosecuted in Spain over accusations of tax evasion, in particular in connection with allegedly undeclared income from the sale of image rights by using companies based outside the country. In this way, Lionel Messi has been found guilty of fraud, and Cristiano Ronaldo accused by prosecutors of evading €14.7m.

Cristiano Ronaldo and José Mourinho are both clients of the football agent Jorge Mendes. Other Mendes charges being investigated for alleged tax evasion while playing in La Liga include Ricardo Carvalho, Ángel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao.

All are accused of using a similar system, whereby their image rights were owned by companies registered in the British Virgin Islands or Panama, and which allegedly received money from intermediaries based in Ireland.

A statement released by Mr Mendes’ company Gestifute last week, countering reports that he was being investigated alongside Radamel Falcao, said that the Portuguese agent did “not participate or offer any services related directly or indirectly with financial, tax or legal consulting for his clients”.

Mourinho’s major trophies

  • Champions League twice, with Porto in 2003-04 and Inter Milan 2009-10
  • Premier League three times with Chelsea in 2004-05, 2005-06, 2014-15
  • La Liga title with Real Madrid in 2011-2012

Other footballers have been accused of tax fraud in Spain:

  • Barcelona and Argentina footballer Lionel Messi was handed a 21-month suspended jail term. His father Jorge, who manages his finances, was also convicted
  • Barcelona defender Javier Mascherano – also an Argentine – admitted tax fraud, escaping a jail term with a one-year suspended sentence
  • Barcelona and Brazilian star Neymar is facing allegations of corruption and fraud over his transfer to the Spanish club in 2013 – a case which also involves his parents. Prosecutors allege the transfer cost much more than publicly declared, and that millions were concealed from authorities
  • Former Barcelona president Sandro Rosell, was arrested in May as part of a money-laundering investigation

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